Workplace Recognition and Incentive Programs

7 Steps to Disengagement

Posted on May 29, 2012 by Motivo Staff in Uncategorized

Engagement has been the focus of human resources for some time and it does not seem to be going away anytime too soon. Why is it important to your company? Well, obviously you want enthusiastic, energetic, dedicated employees who are fully focused on their work. In an ideal world (where is that?) everyone would be fully engaged and genuinely concerned about the success of the organization. And it is becoming widely known that companies that engage in engagement are more profitable. While I believe that each person is responsible for their own engagement, I also believe that a company has to provide an environment conducive to engagement. The problem is that companies all too often create just the opposite effect. They often do these things:

  1. Create fear of job loss – don’t communicate company status, especially after a layoff or other restructuring. Make them think they could be next. If security is in jeopardy, it makes it terribly difficult to be engaged.
  2. Create and enforce unnecessary rules – unreasonable dress codes, unusual rules of behavior, force attendance at irrelevant meetings, etc. Certain rules are needed but irrelevant rules should be etched in stone.  Remember, it is disengaging to tell employees they can’t be themselves.
  3. Make work boring – top talent especially can be disengaged quickly by giving them only routine, unchallenging tasks to perform. Ignore their need for learning and growth.
  4. Forget recognition – disregarding contributions is an easy path to disengagement. Ignore hard work and extra effort on a daily basis. Don’t allow peers to recognize each other. Don’t give supervisors training or the tools for recognition.
  5. Ignore employee’s relationships – they have signed on to work for a paycheck so there is no time for collegiality. Keep their noses to the grindstone. After all, why do they need to have work relationships? Do they really need camaraderie? Picnics? BBQs? Office parties? There is no time to help them understand they are part of something much larger than their tasks.
  6. Work them until they drop – they are all workaholics anyway, right? Late nights, weekend meetings, working lunches. Engagement takes too much time and energy away from the work so why would you want them to stop to smell a few roses or recharge?
  7. Forget your organizational culture – never hire for fit.  You don’t have time to even try to understand your culture anyway. So, what does it matter? Just let that smart as a whip new hire, drift away because there is no cultural fit and you were less than candid about the issue.

So, now you know what to do or “not do” as the case may be.  My next post will be a few ideas about what you can do to create engagement instead. In the meantime, please think about how you can drive engagement and change behaviors in your organization.  No matter what the economy is like, employee engagement is imperative for businesses to survive and thrive.